May’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Sarah Gelbard and Kent Aitken to create a pop-up outdoor venue for “reverse busking.”
Reverse busking was the idea behind last year’s Musical Underground Ottawa, a project Kent put on with support from Awesome Ottawa. It involved asking passers-by to play a song in exchange for a chance to win the guitar on which they were performing.
“This year,” says Sarah, “in addition to offering a chance to win the guitar at the end of the season, we're offering a public stage! In keeping with the tradition of busking, part of the spectacle is the disruption of everyday space. But this project,” she continues, “is as much about setting a stage for our passer-by musicians as creating a public livingroom for the passer-by audience to share the experience. It's like a house show for the city!”
Sarah's urban art practice appropriates and celebrates public space through architectural installations and writing. She is a founding partner of Impromptu Playground, co-director of yowLAB, and writer for Centretown Buzz.
Kent explores the design and dynamics in how and why people participate in anything, from street music to politics. He launched Musical Underground in 2013, curates the Acoustic Guitar Project for Ottawa, and works on public participation professionally.
Funded by Ottawa, ON (May 2014)